“I’m fine” is quite possibly one of the most frequent lies ever told. We create illusions to those around us that we’ve got our head above water even when it is abundantly clear to others that we’re under immense pressure or hardship. The expectations we place on ourselves of “saving face” and not letting on that we’re struggling is getting a little crazy, and it’s making it harder for us to get the help we so desperately need from our peers.
Depression is often a lonely and isolating experience, and it’s not always easy to be open with others about what’s going on. We might not want to admit to the depths of our struggle but there ARE ways to get help and support without having to admit to everything that you’re feeling. Telling people that you’re fine when you’re actually really struggling is not going to help you get out of your darkness, you are not saving anyone of a “burden”, you are just prolonging the pain you’re feeling.
Because finding ways to admit you’re struggling is pretty difficult, I’ve put together a little list of alternative answers to “I’m fine” or “I’m just tired”.
“I’m not coping”
If you’re feeling overwhelmed and your boss doesn’t know about it – they need to know about it. You will not, and can not be penalised for the interpretation of your workload and if you maintain the impression that you’ve got everything handled, you will only receive more and more tasks on your to-do list. This really will not help you.
“Today hasn’t been a good day”
I really really REALLY rate my friendships whereby we can be honest enough to tell each other when we have not had a good day. I don’t need to know the details (unless they wish to divulge), but it means I can respond in a caring way, and it means I can check in with them tomorrow to see if their day has been any better. Admitting to your friends that you’ve not had a good day may seem insignificant, but it at least alerts them to the fact that things aren’t quite 100% with you and they can keep an eye out for your wellbeing. We all need people in our corner, even YOU.
“I’m struggling to make time for myself”
When we’re going through life’s turbulence, our self-care can suffer big-time. Particularly for those who do experience depression, the simple acts of looking after ourselves – cooking nutritious meals, changing our bed sheets – can really take a backseat. This phrase is a perfect way to ask for help in as much as you are asking in a subtle enough way that you could really use some assistance in this department.
“I feel like I’ve not had a good laugh in a while”
A very subtle way to say “I’m not experiencing joy like I used to”. Your very perceptive friends and family will take it upon themselves to then help you find ways to bring that joy back into your life. It’s not admitting depression, but it’s still alerting to those around you that you are on the slightly “lower” end of the happiness spectrum and you need a helping hand to crack a smile.
At the end of the day, anything that opens up conversation about how you are really feeling, is a step towards actually feeling better and improving your situation. It’s not easy, but hopefully some of the phrases above might give you the courage to approach the conversation in a less intimidating way.